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GMO Labeling Fight Gains Momentum Across US

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page, California News, Washington News and our Vermont News page.

 The defeat of California Prop 37, which would have required labels on food products that contain GMOs, hasn't discouraged labeling advocates.

If anything, it has emboldened them and added momentum to the movement, which is becoming a national campaign - organizers in 30 states are now working on initiatives to require GMO labels.

California's referendum was narrowly defeated (51.8%-48.2%), even though the opposition spent more than $46 million, 10 times that of GMO labeling advocates. But it brought national attention to the issue.

Analysis of the election results reveals the proposition lost among early voters (almost half of Californians voted early) and won among those who voted on election day. It looks like the advantage went to labeling opponents because they had the money to launch their TV ads early. Advocates couldn't get on the air until late October, losing those early voters.

In Washington state, where San Juan County passed a ban barring planting of GMOs, activists are gathering signatures to get I-522 (The People's Right to Know Genetically Engineer Food Act) on the  2013 ballot. They need another 100,000 signatures in addition to the 230,000 they've already collected by December 31.

Unlike California's measure, the Washington referendum has strong support from local farmers, ranchers and dairies - both organic and conventional. Its strong network of natural food advocates are fueling interest and another big plus is that the state's new Governor Jay Inslee is a long-term supporter of GMO labeling and organic agriculture.

There's even a chance that it could be passed into law without requiring a referendum. Sign up here if you would like to help collect signatures.

Read about Washington's campaign.

In Vermont, organizers are preparing for round two of the state's fight to introduce GMO labeling. An earlier effort was thwarted by Monsanto's threat to sue the state - the new bill anticipates this and is written to withstand those threats.

"This is about our fundamental right to know how our food is produced," says Andrea Stander, director of Rural Vermont. "The corporate-led campaign against labeling food that has been genetically engineered represents an enormous threat to the integrity and diversity of our food sources. This multi-state coalition will focus and coordinate the power of ordinary citizens to overcome corporate control of our food system."   
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